SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — (11/24/19) In the weekly reports of Influenza updates throughout the 50 states, Louisiana is among the top for having high levels of Influenza activity.
Louisiana along with California and Maryland have reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a high level widespread influenza-like illness (ILI). According to the CDC, during week 45, 2.3% of visits to a health care provider were for ILI.
Other surrounding states in Region 6 such as Arkansas and Oklahoma have reported having low-level activity, and Texas has moderate level activity.
Catherine Speights is the Medical Director of Willis Knighton Quick Care Forbing, and she says the clinic has been seeing an increase of flu patients since “flu season” began.
“We’ve seen type A and type B, but fortunately I have not seen anyone that has the flu shot that has come in and tested positive for the flu,” Speights said.
CDC says there are four different types of influenza viruses: A, B, C, and D.
Influenza A and B viruses are known to cause the most human illness and have a seasonal widespread disease, commonly known as the “flu season” in the United States. Virus A is the only virus known to cause the flu epidemic.
The Influenza C infection will generally cause mild illness to the human body and Virus D is known to affect cattle only.
What’s the difference between the flu and the cold?
Symptoms found on the CDC website for the flu list as fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue. It is common for children to vomit and experience diarrhea.
Speights says the symptoms for the cold are much milder. You can have the runny nose, the cough, and mild body aches, but with the flu, you generally have a high fever, severe muscle aches, you’re extremely tired, runny nose and bad coughing.
How can I treat the flu?
If you become ill with the flu, CDC reports that antiviral drugs may be a treatment option. According to the CDC, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia.
Catherine Speights, M.D. says you can treat the flu symptomatically by the cough, fever, or congestion. She recommends over the counter medicines such as Motrin, Tylenol, or any kind of cough and cold formulation. If you see symptoms, Speights says that you should get in to see your local doctor very quickly.
What can I do every day to prevent the flu?
During the flu season Catherine Speights, M.D recommends that you stay away from people that are sick, cover your mouth when coughing, wash your hands frequently, get plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet.
Should I get the flu shot?
The CDC recommends a flu shot as the best way to protect yourself against the flu.
“Babies and the elderly are especially susceptible to having severe complications if they receive the flu,” Speights said.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work and school, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
To find your local Vaccine locations, click here.